How do you feel about cauliflower? If you find it a little bland Monica urges you to re-look at the vegetable as she shares a recipe for a spectacular cauliflower cake - a cross between a cake and a fritatta.
Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables. I've been known to eat an entire head of cauliflower on my own in one sitting. It's the first vegetable I go for in the piccalilli jar, and the last vegetable to leave my dinner plate in the evening (I always save the best for last).
I guess you could call cauliflower my "desert island vegetable".
My cauliflower eating takes numerous forms...
But let's face it, not everyone shares my extreme passion for these pearly white brassicas. In fact some people really object to them! But I see this as a challenge.
When I want to convert someone to the wonder of the cauliflower, I make them cauliflower cake.
Made with a whopping 10 eggs, this cauliflower cake is more like a cross between a cake and a fritatta. But never mind the name, this “cake” is spectacular.
In addition to eggs and cauliflower, the cake is dominated by strong flavors of parmesan, basil and rosemary. The recipe is a bit of effort, but well worth it. The result is delicious and if you can manage some self control, the leftovers keep for days and days and make for uber easy lunches during the working week.
Makes: 8 generous servings
1 medium cauliflower, 650g-700g
1 large red onion, peeled
50g olive oil
1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
10 medium free-range eggs
20g chopped basil
180g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
220g grated parmesan, grana padano or other mature cheese*
Salt and black pepper
Melted butter, for greasing
2 tbsp black sesame seeds (or black onion seeds or plain sesame seeds)
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Break the cauliflower into medium florets, put them in a pot with a teaspoon of salt, cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until quite soft. Strain, and leave in the colander for a few minutes to get rid of all the water.
While the cauliflower’s cooking, prepare the batter. Cut a few 0.5cm rings off one end of the onion and set aside (these will go on top of the cake); coarsely chop the rest. Heat the oil in a pan and on a low heat sauté the chopped onion and rosemary for eight minutes. Remove from the heat, leave to cool down, add the eggs and basil, and whisk.
Sift the flour, baking powder and turmeric into a large bowl, and add the parmesan, one and a half teaspoons of salt and plenty of black pepper. Add the egg mix and whisk to eliminate lumps. Add the cauliflower and stir gently, trying to keep some florets whole.
Use baking parchment to line the bottom of a 24cm round cake tin with a loose base. Brush the sides with butter, put in the sesame seeds and toss them around so they stick to the sides. Tip in the cauliflower mix and arrange the onion rings on top.
Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set. Serve just warm or at room temperature.
Inspired? For more delicious cauliflower recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.